We have about five inches of snow on the ground this morning here in our little corner of the Eastern Shore. That may not seem like much to many of you, but to us it might as well be 2 feet! It’s days like this where I’m so thankful I’ve gone down the path of DIY more and more often. To be able to make a kitchen staple from the comfort of your own kitchen, without having to venture out to the store, is really a blessing.
Take ricotta cheese for instance. All it takes is some milk, lemon juice, vinegar, and a few minutes of your time. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make, and how delicious it turned out. Creamy and flavorful, unlike that rubbery gunk that comes out of the container in one chunk that you buy from the supermarket. Now that I’ve made this at home, I don’t think that I’ll be able to go back to purchasing it.
I used it in a lasagna, but it really is delicious on it’s own – smeared on a piece of crusty bread. The recipe calls for whole milk, but I’m interested to try it with 2% to see if it turns out just as well – as that’s usually what I have on hand. Will probably add a bit of heavy cream to up the creaminess factor, which I’ve noticed that other tutorials mentioned to do as well.
If you’re snowed in like I am, and stocked up on milk – make yourself feel productive and give this a try. You’ll be patting yourself on the back for days afterwards, I promise!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
2 quarts (half gallon) pasteurized whole milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
Combine the milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk registers 185 F on an instant-read thermometer.
While the milk is heating, prepare a colander and line with a double layer of cheesecloth for straining the ricotta.
Once the milk has reached 185 F, remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture will begin to curdle quickly. Stir just enough to evenly distribute the acids. Let rest 10 minutes.
When the mixture is adequately curdled, it will have separated into white curds and translucent yellow whey. Gently stir to ensure that this has occurred. If there is still milky whey in the in the pot after 10 minutes, add in more vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and let sit 2-3 minutes more until the curds separate.
Very carefully pour the mixture into the prepared colander. Let drain about 15 minutes. Transfer the strained curds to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Store up to 5 days. Makes about 2 cups ricotta. Recipe can be easily doubled, or halved to make an additional cup of ricotta.